It’s no secret that constant learning takes place at universities across the globe. Besides classroom lectures, textbook readings, and studying for exams, some of the best life lessons happen at university outside of the classroom. Here are the eight life lessons I learned at university beyond the classroom.
- Discovering who you are is a journey. Enjoy the ride.
The time I spent at university as an undergraduate student was pivotal and monumental in terms of self-discovery. I learned a lot about who I am, the types of people that I do and don’t want to surround myself with, what topics and ideas I’m most passionate about, and how to take care of myself. I would be remiss not to say that it was a bumpy ride. Sometimes I’d get so caught up in things that didn’t matter, and looking back; I understand now that the journey to self-discovery is one that should be cherished and enjoyed, even on the messiest of days.
- Adulthood can be lonely. Take care of yourself in times of loneliness.
There are times throughout adulthood when you are going to feel alone, even if you have a supportive social circle. Growing up is a messy process splattered with positive and negative emotions and can feel like a lonely journey at times. If and when you do feel lonely, be sure to take extra good care of yourself. Invest in healthy self-care strategies such as journaling, therapy, and exercise, to name a few.
- Not every friendship you make will become a lifelong one.
You will make a lot of friendships during your time at university and beyond. Some will be brief and surface-level, and others will be deep and lifelong. I used to get upset when friendships didn’t last or started to fade, but over time I learned that not all friendships will last or will become a deep-rooted part of your life, and that’s okay. Lean into all friendships you create and cherish each one, no matter how long it lasts.
- Pay attention to your natural talents and abilities. When you feel drawn to something—a class, a club, what have you, listen to your gut instincts.
Have you ever been in a class that lights you up inside? Joined a club that you can’t stop raving about because it fuels you? Had a hobby that keeps you up at night because you enjoy it so much? When your natural talents and abilities come knocking, pay attention, and listen to your gut. Whether you pursue these talents and abilities in your career or on the side, it’s crucial to understand what fills up your cup.
- Networking has the power to change your life—network before, during, and after college.
You’ve likely heard this time and time again, but networking truly has the power to change your life. Carry an open mind and build meaningful relationships with as many individuals as possible, including your classmates, professors, mentors, tutors, and friends. You never know what opportunities or jobs they may be able to help you land down the road.
- Time is the only thing we can never get back.
When I was in college, I lost my grandparents suddenly and unexpectedly, and loss ultimately changed the course of my life. Time is precious, limited, and irreplaceable. Pick up the phone and call your loved ones. Visit your family members when you can. Never lose sight of how you’re spending your time because someday your time bank will run out, and gosh dang it, you will wish you had just a little bit more of it.
- Grades are important, but so is enjoying each stage of your life before it passes. Make time for fun and savor your college memories.
I grew up a straight-A student and carried a perfectionist mentality with me to university. I graduated Summa Cum Laude and with only one B- on my transcript. And do you know how many people have asked me about my grades since graduating from college? Zero. Zilch. Nada. I wish I had spent less time stressing over acing exams and made more time to have fun with my friends. With each stage of life, it’s essential to find balance. Life should be a mix of fun and seriousness!
- Adulting can be tough! It’s okay to ask for help.
I spent my childhood admiring and looking up to the adults around me. I always thought they did such an excellent job adulting. And when I became an adult, I quickly realized that I didn’t have it all figured out. I called my mom more times than I can count when I was in college to ask her all sorts of questions, such as cooking instructions for different meals, laundry-related secrets, what to say in certain situations, and more. You aren’t going to wake up one day, fully ready to conquer life as an adult. Ask for help when you need it.